Saturday, 7 January 2012

Could Jim Popp be Saddling Up With The Colts?

According to NBC’s ProFootballTalk website, the Indianapolis Colts are considering Montreal Alouettes director of player personnel, Jim Popp for their vacant general manager position.

What makes this an eyebrow raising situation is that for those who follow current Colts owner, Jim Irsay on Twitter (@JimIrsay) he wrote “Here's a dark horse candidate for u fantasy GMers..Jim _____(Who)?? Out in Canada..who do I speak of? For $200 n Real NFL football!”

Normally in the NFL, names are always mentioned as possible candidates for open positions. But the verbiage in his tweet is that he is not discounting Popp as a candidate. However, let’s not forget the very open minded Irsay isn’t afraid to write anything on Twitter (see his tweets about Manning, Peyton).

What could make Popp appealing to the Colts family? As mentioned in the ProFootballTalk article, since 1996, he has fielded a winner throughout his time in Montreal, where he has had two non-winning seasons in 2001 and 2007. His team has gone to eight Grey Cups in the last 11 years winning three times.

For those who remember, when the team moved from Baltimore to Montreal, Popp had to do major renovations to the roster because he had no Canadian players. As a result, he was able to cultivate the team with impact non-imports such as Jock Climie and Michael Soles.

What can also be an intriguing factor is the Baltimore connection. For those who recall, the Irsay family and the NFL sued the old Baltimore CFL franchise for using the Colts nickname. As a result, the franchise went on a nameless odyssey until finally settling on the Stallions.

Popp was apart of the Baltimore franchise as an assistant general manager where they had the best two-year run amongst the CFL American expansion teams, in reaching two consecutive Grey Cups and being the only U.S. team ever to win the title.

Maybe Popp has been in the back of Irsay’s mind for a quite a while, seeing how successful he was in making the former CFL franchise a popular love affair with the city of Baltimore. Then moving onto Montreal where they’ve been a perennial contender for the Grey Cup.

According to a source of mine, Popp moved his family back to his North Carolina home. That could be a potential determining factor to be closer to them. Considering the sudden passing of his mother after the playoff loss to the Tiger-Cats, maybe in his heart he is looking to be closer to his loved ones. As a colleague of mine pointed out, Popp is rarely in the city of Montreal because he is always on the road scouting.

If Popp does jump on-board with the Colts, what could happen to the Alouettes? For starters, Marc Trestman is entering the last year of this deal and could potentially join him. This could entail the Colts will be using the first overall selection (if they keep it) in the NFL Draft on Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck.

Trestman’s forte is developing quarterbacks, and essentially he would be getting a Ferrari engine in Luck. It’s a matter of molding the shape of the car to lead the Colts back to their winning ways.

Furthermore, given that Popp has an eye at finding talent, the one constant knock on the Colts is their inability of identifying impact depth players. If Popp could go about and find these players at the minimum salary, it would pay dividends for this team who historically during the salary cap era has had their money tied up to a few players.

Right now, it is mere speculation on him leaving. Already the Colts in-total have interviewed seven candidates. So the odds are somewhat stacked that Popp could be considered. Don’t forget, this isn’t the first time he is testing the NFL waters.
There was the apparent wooing by the Washington Redskins to have him join their personnel staff a few years ago. But he opted to stay with the Alouettes.

But if Popp leaves, would this signal the beginning of the end for this franchise if he brings Marc Trestman, and some key support staff members?

As another colleague told me the other day, “Jim Popp is a big fish in a small pond.” Now is he willing to jump into the ocean with the sharks?

As for the Colts, the clock is ticking towards the NFL Draft, and with the Peyton Manning situation, since he is due very soon a nice signing bonus. They will need someone in place to handle this situation. Now, could it be Jim Popp?

You can follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Photo courtesy of Remi Lemee, La Presse,

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